Covert Exposure, A Nick Spinelli Mystery

Valerie J. Clarizio
Covert Exposure, A Nick Spinelli Mystery
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Melange Books, LLC
Release Date
August 2013
Book 1 of Nick Spinelli Mystery Series
Romantic Suspense/Mystery

Detective Spinelli's life is tossed sideways when he is reassigned from the Homicide division to assist in the Child Services division of the Social Services Department for the holiday season. From the beginning, Spinelli and Caseworker Shannon O'Hara generate their own kind of fireworks, causing more than the normal workplace stress. They both have their own philosophies for dealing with the clientele. However, the forces of nature have their own plan for Spinelli and Shannon.

Shannon moonlights as Santa Claus' little helper at the mall, and when Santa and an elf turn up dead Shannon appears to be next on the killer's list. Spinelli is placed back on homicide and goes undercover as Santa to help capture the killer. He catches a great deal of grief along the way but will he capture the heart of his little Santa's helper as well?

Book Review by Delta (reviewer)
Oct 07, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
226 people found the following review helpful
When a playboy detective falls fast and hard for Santa's helper, you'll be helpless to resist the fireworks that the two ignite. More fun than a bushel of mistletoe, COVERT EXPOSURE will have you laughing at Detective Spinelli's over the top reactions to the angelic Shannon.

To his utter horror, homicide Detective Nick Spinelli has been temporarily transferred to the Child Services department for the holiday season. Bewildered and frustrated, Spinelli heads upstairs, only to meet a green-eyed vision in the form of caseworker Shannon O'Hara. In no time flat, Spinelli has pissed off the sweet creature, getting on her bad side when he really wants to get her on her backside...preferably with him on top. Shannon can't understand why this cold and heartless man must work with her; he hasn't a clue how to handle these families!

But when a mall Santa and his elf are found dead, part-time Santa's helper Shannon turns into the next target, terrifying both her and the sexy detective who's smitten with her. Spinelli must pose as Santa in order to flush out the murderer and protect his woman, no matter what. As the two spend more time together, sparks of a different kind start flying, and when danger threatens their new relationship, Spinelli vows to do whatever it takes to protect Shannon.

COVERT EXPOSURE is book 1 in the Nick Spinelli Mystery series and can be read as a standalone. It took me awhile to get into the story but once I did, I really enjoyed myself.

Spinelli is hysterical; he's slightly neurotic and a lot in lust with Shannon. He's a big, bad detective, yet his female captain, the little children and Shannon all scare the crap out of him. Spinelli thinks Shannon is this pure and innocent woman, but when she lets loose her potty mouth, it really made me chuckle. She also has no problem putting the delectable detective in his place when he shows his jerky side.

While there was excellent character development of Spinelli, I thought that Shannon remained pretty much a mystery throughout. Spinelli grew as a person and became endearing to the reader while Shannon ended as an aloof, unreadable woman. The entire book was written from Spinelli's point of view, with just a few brief snippets from Shannon's. I hope we get a bit more about her in future installments.

The action/suspense element was well written, though I would've preferred a bit more sprinkled throughout the book. I also felt a little cheated that there really wasn't much of a mystery as to who the bad guys were and what was exactly going on, as we found out about everything way before the culmination.

The sex in COVERT EXPOSURE was pretty good, though it took WAY too long to get to, and quite frankly the sex in Spinelli's imagination was a bit hotter than their actual sex scene. Their chemistry was terrific, but it wasn't enough for this reader. Additionally, there were quite a few places where the editing could be improved and the second half of the story really dragged on, the sentence structure becoming abrupt and less smooth.

That said, because Spinelli is such a kick-ass character, I'm rating COVERT EXPOSURE a 4. I hope that Ms Clarizio continues Spinellli and Shannon's affair in future installments!
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